The Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) is a daunting conservation planning exercise. The affected ecosystems have been irreversibly altered; a number of the covered species are at risk of extinction over the next century; despite the investment of billions of dollars, the monitoring scheme in place is inadequate to provide scientists with data necessary to generate robust analyses needed to make informed resource management decisions; and the entire exercise is a political hot potato.
The State committed to release a public draft of the BDCP in June 2012, but in a letter to the Department of the Interior dated May 3, 2012, the Secretary for Natural Resources announced the release would be delayed. Recently, an independent panel released its review (pdf) of the current draft BDCP, and it made a series of recommendations for changes to the existing document. The panel urged the State to make substantial revisions to the document, concluding among other things that "the Effects Analysis is too inconsistent in its treatment of how effects are analyzed across listed species and the potential costs and benefits of the planned BDCP activities are too uncertain to provide an objective assessment of the BDCP on covered species." In a letter (pdf) responding to the review, the United States and the State of California expressed their commitment to completing the BDCP process.
The State has since announced a public meeting to discuss progress toward completing the BDCP on June 20 from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. in Sacramento. According to the Sacramento Bee, the meeting "is expected to include an update on a smaller project that emerged recently that would divert 9,000 cubic feet per second (versus the previous 15,000 cfs proposal) through three intakes (instead of the previous five)" (June 20, 2012, by Matt Weiser).